Thursday, April 23, 2015

African abundance

Riffing off Steve Sailer's prime example of an instance where a picture is worth a thousand words, in 1950 sub-Saharan Africa's population density was on par with that of contemporary Idaho (8 people per square kilometer). By the turn of the next century, UN population projections predict that Africans will be packed in more tightly (170 p/sqkm) than people in New York are today. That shakes out to more than a twenty-fold increase in 150 years, a mere six or seven generations.

Europe's population density, in contrast, is projected to remain nearly static over that same period of time, from 24 p/sqkm in 1950 to 28 p/sqkm in 2100, or from today's Mississippi density to that of West Virginia.

Take a moment to dwell on this. In 1950, there were three times as many Europeans in any given place in Europe as there were black Africans in sub-Saharan Africa. In less than a century, there will over six times as many black Africans in any given place in sub-Saharan Africa as there will be Europeans in Europe.

Put in another way, at the close of the 21st century it is estimated that for every one extant descendant of a European alive in 1950, there will be more than 18 living descendants of a sub-Saharan African living at the same time. This is a veritable Darwinian rout.

Parenthetically, the contrast is even starker than it appears at first blush, since over the intervening 150 years net migration has been and will continue to be from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe. In other words, in the year 2100 virtually all of those 170 p/sqkm in sub-Saharan Africa will be black Africans. A lot of those 28 p/sqkm in Europe, in contrast, will be of non-European ancestry.

For some reason I'm not confident that a twenty-fold increase in sub-Saharan Africa's vibrancy over a century and a half is going to be enough to incentivize black Africans to stay put. Excepting Europe's abrupt (and politically unthinkable) adoption of Israeli-style perimeter security on a continental scale, how does camp of the saints not become the story of the 21st century?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weirdo

A modest suggestion for an addition to further increase the precision and specificity of Jonathan Haidt's eminently useful acronym without detracting from its mnemonic appeal: WEIRDO (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic, and outbred).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shallow, self-assured snark

An article entitled "10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Wrong" captures the supercilious self-righteousness of 21st century America quite well. It is fueled by the same sardonic snark that powers outfits like Colbert and The Daily Show. A typical social media response:
It's sad that all it takes is a single sentence to refute each argument, yet the 'debate' rages on.
Browbeating and triumphalism are the objectives, not serious consideration of the subject at hand. The straw man arguments are there to be cut to shreds, not to offer real resistance. The ease with which a moribund West rejects not just all of its own history up through about a decade ago but also rejects the histories of all other major civilizations is a feature rather than a bug. If 21st century America, with its unsustainable fertility patterns, resource usage, trade imbalances, and perpetual military intervention doesn't know what's right, who does?

Never one to pass up the opportunity to be a gloriously massacred member of a hopelessly outnumbered and outmaneuvered rearguard, let's see if we can't pick off these ten orcs as they advance up the hill towards our position.

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

It's unlikely that homosexuality is genetically heritable because of the obvious evolutionary disadvantage homosexuals suffer. Ironically, that disadvantage is becoming more pronounced as homosexuality moves from enjoying tenuous social acceptance to being revered in a single generation. Long removed are we from the time of Oscar Wilde.

Unlike eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning, there is a reason people find (male) homosexuality repulsive--it's unhealthy, really unhealthy. Anal tissue is not designed to be penetrated by an erect penis, and taking anal material into the bloodstream isn't salubrious. AIDS, for example, stole countless hours of my high school health classes.

If, as seems most likely, homosexuality is caused by a pathogen, well, it's about as natural as smallpox or the plague. That doesn't mean admonitions regarding the appeal to nature don't apply.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

There probably is a non-negligible cultural component to female homosexuality. Male homosexuality is not contagious, nor does anyone seriously argue that it is. One wishes blank slaters would admit the same about intelligence (Head Start to turn low-IQ kids into Einsteins!), affordable housing (bring the underclass into suburbia to turn transform them into middle class burghers!), desegregation (expose people to Diversity to exorcise the stereotypical caricatures that exist in their secluded minds!), big is beautiful (to convince men that the way their minds and bodies react in a split second to this is merely a social construct!), etc, but here we are.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

Pets don't have said rights or capabilities but siblings, 12-year-old girls, and members of a harem all do.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all. Women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

All is Hegelian progress!

Miscegenation and chattel slavery are separate issues. Conflating them is logically fallacious. In reverse, "Same-sex marriage is a novel experiment that will work, just like communism, eugenics, and affirmative action have all worked."

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour and Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage would be destroyed.

Infidelity is far more common among homosexuals than it is among heterosexuals. The divorce rate in the US peaked in late seventies and has been gently but steadily declining since then. It's too early to gauge how same-sex divorce rates will compare to conventional divorce rates but the smart money is on the former being higher than the latter. Cherry-picking high profile anecdotes doesn't change that.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

The fear is that if the institution loses its focus on children, the nuclear family correspondingly loses its status as the societal norm and conventional ideal of household formation.

Even in the Occident marriage hasn't always been monogamous, quite the contrary in fact. Marriage is going full circle on the way back to what it was 2,000 years ago, when the arrangement agreed more with Heartiste's palate. Sex outside of marriage was socially acceptable for men in antiquity because there was no expectation that it signified romantic love between the two marrieds. Pompey Magnus, Julius Caesar's great rival, was regularly ribbed for his apparently genuine, doting affection for his wife.

Philandering was less acceptable for married women, but that was because of the obvious issues it raised with regard to paternal uncertainty. Unmarried women having sex with married men was fine, even expected. The Catholic Church is probably the single biggest reason, historically, that the contemporary European understanding of marriage is what it is.

I'm of the opinion that the institution of marriage that emerged out of the forge of Christendom is a spectacular achievement that has played no small part in the building modern society. Historically, a higher percentage of women than of men have successfully reproduced (estimates as disparate as 80% of women but only 40% of men though I doubt the gap is that large on average--it's hard to tell precisely and there are ebbs and flows like genetic bottlenecks) because high-status men had wives and (exclusive) mistresses while low-status men often had little to no sexual access at all. That's still more-or-less how things go in lots of tribalistic societies, like say in the cases of our 'allies' in Afghanistan and Iraq. Middling men who millenia ago wouldn't have had much stake in society now have some stake in it, and they have reasons (their wives and children) to help maintain a large, high-trust super community.

It's not trolling too hard to say that we know the outcome when open relationships are ubiquitous--just take a look at inner city America.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

Stepparents are more likely to abuse their stepchildren than parents are to abuse their biological children. The evolutionary explanation for why this is so is obvious. In the case of same-sex couples with children, at minimum one is a stepparent, and in many cases both are.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

Aside from the fact that if we replace "Gay marriage" with "Opposition to gay marriage" and "religion" with "Diversity", the above works as a serious assessment of what just took place in Indiana, the US is (in theory) a representative republic and same-sex marriage was foisted upon a population that didn't initially support it, while those doing the foisting did so self-assured of their moral righteousness. Counterfactuals are inherently speculative, but I suspect without legal fiat same-sex marriage would have still come to be legalized, though it would've taken longer.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children. 

Single motherhood has virtually become sanctioned in America, both socio-culturally with the removal of stigmatization turning what used to be a mark of shame into something bordering on a badge of honor, and also financially with mandatory child support, no-fault divorce, TANF, WIC, etc. The consequences have been disastrous.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. We could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans. 
Accede, then, to the assertion that we could adapt to state-mandated sterilization or the reintroduction of slavery!

This assumes the sale without any attempt to show the benefits derived from making the purchase. There are lots of other potential organizing principles that haven't been adopted and adapted but have instead been thrown out, like communism and fascism.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Black student NAEP scores in Boston and New York City are higher when teachers are white than when they are black

Here are some data relevant to Steve Sailer's recent post entitled "NYT: Something Must be Done About All the Nice White Lady Teachers", where the paper singles out in turn Boston and New York City for having disproportionate shares of white teachers given the non-whiteness of their student bodies. Subject yourself to as much of that as you'd like to there with Steve's thoughts as a palliative.

Here, let's just look at the differences in 8th grade NAEP student performance in each of those cities by the race of teachers students had in their respective 8th grade math and reading classes. For ease of comprehension, NAEP scores are converted into IQ estimates. The scores for both tests are on a 500 point scale, with a standard deviation of 37 on the math assessment and 34 on the reading assessment. In the subsequent table, these are converted into IQ estimates with a mean of 98--corresponding to the national average NAEP scores of 283.62 for math and 266.02 for reading--and a standard deviation of 15. The math and reading scores are weighted equally.

The first table shows the mean IQ scores for students of all races who were instructed by either white or black teachers (sample sizes were too small for Hispanic teachers):

Teacher raceBostonNYC
White98.296.4
Black92.991.2

But that's because white teachers are more likely to get white students! Er, white privileged students, that is--the fact that their white per se has nothing to do with their elevated performance over the black students, er, underprivileged black youths that black teachers end up with.

To a large extent that is correct, but explicitly articulating as much is several shiv twists too many for a mealy-mouthed SWPL to stomach.

Yet if you'll permit me to continue trolling, there's more! The next table shows the mean IQ of black students only by whether their teachers were white or black:

Teacher raceBostonNYC
White92.592.1
Black90.889.9

If we want to deal in culturally marxist terms where we don't take the primary determining factor in student performance--the intelligence of the students themselves--it seems we are forced to conclude that white teachers are not only better instructors on the whole than black teachers are, but that white teachers even do a better job teaching black students than black teachers do. The data are so racist!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monetary standard of living by state

Seeing figures on the median income range required for households to fall between 66 percent and 200 percent of each state's median income (via Jayman) set me thinking about differences in monetary standards of living across the US.

Due to the wide variations in costs of living across different regions, income figures alone provide an incomplete picture. Nominally a dollar is a dollar, but the real purchasing power of that dollar not only varies over time (or, more precisely, declines over time), it also contemporaneously varies by location. Last year the Tax Foundation created a map showing the real purchasing power of $100 by state, indexed to an average national purchasing power for that same amount. Using this data in concert with median household income figures provides a seemingly reasonable measure of average monetary standards of livings across states. 

It's still an imperfect measure. The numerator here is income, not wealth, so youthful states like Utah and Alaska get a bit of an artificial boost on account of having fewer retirees than older states like Florida and West Virginia do. In geriatric states, retirees' incomes are often modest compared to the earnings they enjoyed during the middle of their life cycles even though, optimally, their monetary standards of living are at least as high as they were when they were working full time. Despite the name, the Tax Foundation's figures don't take income or sales taxes into account. Additionally, these are state medians and there is a lot of intrastate variation that gets amalgamated into each statewide figure (ie, Washington west vs. east of the Cascades). And, of course, this does not take into account non-monetary intangibles like climate, population density, and the like that factor into real world assessments of how desirable a place is to live.

The following table ranks states by a monetary standard of living (MSOL) index, calculated by multiplying how far $100 goes in a state compared to the national average by the median household income in the state and then dividing that by national median income to derive an index normed to 100. A MSOL index value above 100 indicates an average living above the national average while a value below 100 indicates an average living below the national average:

StateMSOL
1. Alaska126.8
2. Maryland122.5
3. Massachusetts117.1
4. Minnesota117.1
5. Utah116.1
6. North Dakota116.0
7. New Jersey115.6
8. Connecticut115.3
9. Wyoming114.6
10. Virginia114.2
11. New Hampshire113.7
12. Iowa109.7
13. Hawaii109.1
14. Colorado108.9
15. Nebraska107.4
16. Kansas106.6
17. Rhode Island106.5
18. Washington106.4
19. Delaware106.4
20. Illinois105.1
21. South Dakota104.4
22. Wisconsin104.2
23. Ohio101.4
24. Texas100.8
25. California100.3
26. Missouri100.2
27. Pennsylvania99.1
28. Indiana98.1
29. Nevada98.1
30. Vermont98.0
31. Georgia97.8
32. Michigan96.2
33. Oregon95.6
34. Oklahoma95.6
35. North Carolina94.3
36. Idaho94.0
37. Montana93.8
38. New York93.5
39. Arizona93.0
40. Kentucky91.9
41. Tennessee91.8
42. South Carolina91.6
43. Alabama91.5
44. Louisiana90.9
45. Maine89.9
46. Florida87.6
47. West Virginia87.6
48. New Mexico87.0
49. Arkansas87.0
50. Mississippi82.6

Kansas beats California again. Jack Cashill 3Thomas Frank 0.

A map of the same. The darker the shading, the higher the MSOL:


Generally speaking, the South is relatively poor while New England and the upper Midwest are pretty well off.

Several years ago I looked at the relationship between a state's "livability index" (calculated by looking at 44 different, pretty wide-ranging factors from things like public libraries per capita to infant mortality rates) and its estimated average IQ and found a vigorous positive correlation of .78. There is more to life than money, and that comparison suggested that the non-monetary good things in life correlated strongly with intelligence. Well, material abundance does, too. The state level correlation between MSOL and IQ is .61 (p-value = .0000003).

Parenthetically, MSOL correlates modestly with 2012 support for Obama (r = .20, p-value = .17).